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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

A beach is a process

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A ‘memo’ in The Echo of November 12 told me ‘if you want to save a beach, build a groyne’. Consider this: Stand somewhere with ocean water in front of you and a sandy landscape behind. That is a beach.

Allowing that interface to wander in and out as it wishes, over time, keeps that beach forever.

A proper beach includes the sand dune behind it. The dune stores sand in times of accretion and resupplies the beach in times of erosion. It also likes to wander, with the beach. There are lots of old dune formations that got stranded inland from Belongil. They date from geological times of higher sea levels. You can see their shapes east and west of the A&I Estate on map apps and other satellite views. Their crests run parallel to the coast.

A beach is a process, not a line on a real estate map. There are good examples everywhere, such as the Tyagarah coast – guess what, no real estate. Groynes (and any hard structure) are only the answer if we have asked the wrong question.

Byron Shire Cr Duncan Dey, Main Arm


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  1. Well said Duncan. The only people making waves about rock barriers and groynes are in real estate or living on the dunes they are trying to stabilise against the wants of nature. As for the rest of us, we want beaches, not a sea wall from Cairns to Sydney.

  2. Building on frontal dunes should be banned, outright. The real estate “industry” which sells such blocks of land, is devoid of conscience. The insurance industry which makes the rest of us pay because someone is so obsessed with “water views” that they are determined to place their house where it is likely to get swept into the sea, is cynically negligent in accepting the premiums. Local and State Governments which meekly accede to these idiots and their mad demands, reek of corruption.

  3. Having lived in Byron in 1988 for 13 years I watched landowners wilfully purchasing and renovating dwellings in full knowledge of BSC policy of planned retreat. That they have been successful in obtaining thousands of dollars from State Government to defend this ‘monarch of all I survey’ attitude, is testimony to stupidity,vanity and the pursuit of privilege, This is entirely out of whack with the alternative ethos of Byron which is now better termed Business Bay, or as some would have it Beige Bay,Well done real estate agents, demographic changers par excellence!
    Its just tough on the rest of us, people like Duncan Dey and others who understand and respect coastal processes and give a damn enough to fight for them.
    For me its an abomination.


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